Homebuilding costs FAQs
How does your building material affect the cost of building your house?
The higher-end finishes you choose, the higher your costs. Also, your location will affect how much it costs to ship those materials.
How can you save money on building materials when building a house?
If you do a lot of the work yourself, acquire land cheaply, and cut down on high-end finishes, then you can keep your cost to build low.
Who should you hire to build your house if you want to save money?
Hiring a general contractor who has experience in all aspects of homebuilding, such as plumbing, HVAC, roofing, framing, and drywall, will save you from hiring a different contractor for each homebuilding phase.
What can you forgo to save on costs when building a house?
Don't build a basement, keep it to one story, and use lower-end finishes. All of these will save you money -- and time -- when building a house.
According to NAHB, the average material cost to build a house is $296,652, with the average square footage of a house being 2,594. That means your cost per square foot is $114.36 ($296,652 / 2,594).
How does location affect the cost of building a house?
If you are remote, then the cost to transport building material will increase. You may want to consider transporting the material yourself if the cost is high. Further, if you're located in a city, your land cost goes up substantially so your cost to build also rises.
How much does it cost to build a new house where another house already is?
The cost of demolition can vary between $5 and $10 a square foot. You will also need to factor in the cleanup and land preparation for your new home build.
How can mountainous land change the cost of building your house?
If you're building on a grade, then you will likely see additional expenses, like surveys, stilts, or retaining walls. All of these are additional costs for building a new home.
How does the number of windows affect the cost of building your house?
You will have to remove existing walls, cut studs, and install brand new windows and insulation, all of which are highly variable depending on size and material. This can range from $400 and up per window.
Who can you hire to give you an estimate on your basic house-building costs?
Any general contractor, home builder, or architect should be able to give you a rough building-cost estimate tailored to your design plans.
What ways can the architectural layout of the design affect the cost of building your house?
Whether you have a basement or a second story and the finishes you choose will all have a major impact on your building cost.
How much does it cost to build a house when you add a second floor?
On an existing structure, this cost starts at roughly $100,000, but if you're building from scratch, the additional cost is simply the cost per additional square foot since you're already building a new structure.
The bottom line
As of 2019, the average cost to build a house was $296,652, or $114.36 per square foot. There are considerable variable costs not included in this amount, including contractors and land acquisition. Use the above guidelines and formulas to get a better understanding of how much it costs to build a house.